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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

Demonstration of a high speed hybrid electrical and optical sensing system for next generation launcher applications
Author(s): Selwan K. Ibrahim; John A. O’Dowd; Arthur Honniball; Vivian Bessler; Martin Farnan; Peter O’Connor; Milos Melicher; Danny Gleeson

Paper Abstract

The Future Launchers Preparatory Programme (FLPP) supported by the European Space Agency (ESA) has a goal of developing various launch vehicle system concepts and identifying the technologies required for the design of Europe's Next-Generation Launcher (NGL) while maintaining competitiveness on the commercial market. Avionics fiber optic sensing technology was investigated as part of the FLPP programme.

Here we demonstrate and evaluate a high speed hybrid electrical/optical data acquisition system based on commercial off the shelf (COTS) technology capable of acquiring data from traditional electrical sensors and optical Fibre Bragg Grating (FBG) sensors. The proposed system consists of the KAM-500 data acquisition system developed by Curtis-Wright and the I4 tunable laser based fiber optic sensor interrogator developed by FAZ Technology. The key objective was to demonstrate the capability of the hybrid system to acquire data from traditional electrical sensors used in launcher applications e.g. strain, temperature and pressure in combination with optical FBG sensors, as well as data delivery to spacecraft avionics systems. The KAM-500 was configured as the main acquisition unit (MAU) and provided a 1 kHz sampling clock to the I4 interrogator that was configured as the secondary acquisition unit (SAU) to synchronize the data acquisition sample rate between both systems. The SAU acquired data from an array of optical FBG sensors, while the MAU data acquisition system acquired data from the electrical sensors.

Data acquired from the optical sensors was processed by the FAZ I4 interrogation system and then encapsulated into UDP/IP packets and transferred to the KAM-500. The KAM-500 encapsulated the optical sensor data together with the data acquired from electrical sensors and transmitted the data over MIL-STD-1553 and Ethernet data interface. The temperature measurements resulted in the optical and electrical sensors performing on a par with each other, with all sensors recording an accuracy within 0.35% FS over the full temperature range of -70°C to +180°C. The pressure measurements were performed over a 0 to 5 bar absolute pressure range and over different temperatures across a -40°C to +80°C range. The tests concluded that the optical pressure sensors performed on par with the electrical pressure sensor for each temperature set, where both sensor technologies measured a pressure accuracy of 1.2% FS. As for the strain measurements, the results show the optical and electrical sensors can measure to within 1% FS (Full Scale) of measurement range ±1,200 μstrain.

The proposed hybrid system can be potentially used for next generation launcher applications delivering weight reduction, improvement in measurement coverage and reduction in Assembly, Integration and Testing (AIT) over traditional electrical systems.

Paper Details

Date Published: 25 September 2017
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 10562, International Conference on Space Optics — ICSO 2016, 105625E (25 September 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2296153
Show Author Affiliations
Selwan K. Ibrahim, FAZ Technology Ltd. (Ireland)
John A. O’Dowd, FAZ Technology Ltd. (Ireland)
Arthur Honniball, FAZ Technology Ltd. (Ireland)
Vivian Bessler, FAZ Technology Ltd. (Ireland)
Martin Farnan, FAZ Technology Ltd. (Ireland)
Peter O’Connor, Curtiss-Wright (Ireland)
Milos Melicher, Curtiss-Wright (Ireland)
Danny Gleeson, Curtiss-Wright (Ireland)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10562:
International Conference on Space Optics — ICSO 2016
Bruno Cugny; Nikos Karafolas; Zoran Sodnik, Editor(s)

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